Martin Schoeller@martinschoeller

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Martin: James, where are you from?
James: Kansas City. I came out here 2001 for acting and then I messed around and had some kids and then that went wrong with the baby’s mother, so this is it for now.
M: How many kids do you have?
J: Well, I have three. She messed around and messed up my child visitation by not showin’ up with my kids. But at least I won in court for the Skype visit.
M: How often do you Skype with them?
J: Tuesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
M: Do you have a tent you sleep in at night?
J: Sleepin’ on concrete..
M: You get food stamps every month?
J: No, I don’t get that. I just don’t really like asking for help too much. But I do like two healthy feet, you know what I mean? I’ll walk around this city all day collecting recyclables, you know what I mean?
M: That’s how you come by money, doing recyclables?
J: Mhm.
M: How much money can you make with recyclables a month?
J: It depends on how dedicated you are. Say for instance my goal is if I can get thirty dollars on Saturday, thirty dollars on Sunday, thirty dollars on Tuesday, then I could basically be making fifteen dollars a day.
M: How many hours does it take you to collect thirty dollars worth of recyclables?
J: The recycling places close at four thirty, start there, try to make it back there by two o’clock the next day. So basically it’s all game between there.
M: Four thirty in the afternoon till two o’clock the next day? That’s a long shift.
J: Yep. I ain’t doin’ nothing else. [laughter] Ya know? It ain’t like I got some places to go! .
Please support the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition to help people like Joseph get back on their feet. Donate or volunteer today @gwhfc. Link and details in bio.
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Martin: Where are you from originally?
Michael: Originally, Washington D.C.
Martin: How long have you been here?
Michael: It’s been about seven months.
Martin: Are you living on the streets these days?
Michael: For now, I’ve got some applications for like low income housing and things of that sort. It’s working out so far. Not as fast as I like but..
Martin: I hear it can take years?
Michael: Yeah.
Martin: What do you do to come by money?
Michael: Oh gosh I receive SSEI, disability.
Martin: Is that enough?
Michael: Well, yeah, it is. Yeah, it is.
Martin: Do you have a group of friends you hang out with?
Michael: Not yet. Kinda deciding. I’m kinda just shopping for the right kinda network and friends and maybe support system. There’s two things that are a priority for me. There’s a music project that I’m working on and then a score I’d like to finish completely. And then school starts in the fall. I’m gonna major in sociology. So I’ve got my fingers crossed, and I’m looking forward to some pretty good times.
Martin: A few people living on the street are actually going to college. That must be hard.
Michael: I’m not saying I’m like pattin’ myself on the shoulder or anything, but I mean, I take intelligence seriously and education seriously and that’s.. If a person is as passionate about completing their studies and they're homeless, hey, more power to ‘em.
Martin: Absolutely, good luck to you. .
Please support the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition to help people like Michael get back on their feet. Donate or volunteer today @gwhfc. Link and details in bio.
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Martin: What brings you to L.A.?
Mark: The opportunity to become a chef. I was a chef for a while, for about twenty years here in L.A. Yeah, I’ve worked at a lot of places. Cafe Stella, Campanili, I was the executive chef at Naples in Disneyland. I had some cool jobs, yeah, they were some pretty cool jobs. I like to cook.
M: What happened?
M: Well, why I became homeless is because I was dating a girl and we weren’t.. She said just go to rehab.
M: What drugs did you get into?
M: Weed was basically it.
M: Just weed?
M: Yeah. I was like, it’s gonna be legal by the time I get out of rehab. But, then I’ve done also crystal meth and.. That's it.
M: Crystal meth helps as a chef, right? It keeps you going and going.
M: Yeah, it keeps you up all night.
M: I’ve met all different people that got into it. Lawyers, doctors, students. They say it keeps them focused to get ...
M: Yeah, to get everything done. But, if you run out before the weekend and you have to sleep on the weekend and you don’t get up for work on Tuesday, whooooo it’s bad.
M: Where do you sleep at night?
M: On Gower. In a tent. I got a pop up tent, a four-man pop up tent. All I do is unhook the belt and throw it on the ground and step back and it goes ch-ch-ch-ch-ch. Yeah, it takes ten seconds to breakdown.
M: Chefs are treated like rock stars these days. How about rehab and a new start?
M: Rehab sucks. You go there, you’re excited to get rehabilitated but then it’s like you’re there for two, three days and you’re like oh my god, the boredom. And they put you through all these classes and basically they make you go to all the AA meeting and NA meetings. It’s like, oh my god. I just don’t get into it. I mean, I try, I try. I went to a lot of rehabs. I completed two or three of them but it was just too much. I don’t think I get too much out of it. .
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M: "How long have you been out in LA?"
D: "Since 1989. I came out here by myself to retaliate."
M: "Against whom?"
D: "My family. I didn’t want to be what they wanted me to be. I was in the police academy. I didn’t want to be a cop so I came out here and I did pornos. And then I got involved in a bunch of other junk, drugs, prostitution. I’m clean and sober now so… My dog is cold.” <calls to dog> "Come here Grumpy, come on.”
M: "That’s a cute dog."
D: "Thank you, he’s my pride and joy. I was very suicidal one time and he came into my life and I haven’t been since." M: "Have you ever been to Step Up or any similar programs?"
D: "I’m gonna go see them, as a matter of fact, tomorrow morning. I’m sick. I have a life-threatening disease."
M: "HIV?"
D: "Yeah. Yeah. I’ve had it since 1997 and I’m symptomatic and I keep getting sick."
M: "Are you taking the medication?"
D: "It would help if I went to my appointments. I’m a procrastinator. I’m easily side tracked. I’m easily talked into bad things."
M: "Is it okay with you to put your photo on my Instagram?"
D: "Cool! I have Instagram. It doesn’t bother me. I wish somebody would write my life story. Write a book about me. I wanna open a thrift store though. I’d call it 'This Once Belonged to You.' [laughter]
Hollywood ain’t nothing but a box of Raisin Bran. You got your fruits, your nuts, and your flakes. It’s true. My nerves are rattled."
M: "How long have you been doing crystal?"
D: "Too long. Since ’98. I sometimes get that little twitch." M: "Any other drugs?"
D: "No. No, ....that’s a lie, I did heroin. I’ve been clean off heroin two weeks." .
Please support the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition to help people like Debbie get back on their feet. Donate or volunteer today @gwhfc. Link and details in bio.
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Martin: “Where are you from?
Jonathan: I’m from Texas.”
M:” How long have you been here?”
J: “ I’ve been here about five years. I’m staying on the street, but I'm working something out. I’ve had a girlfriend for about three months now, so I’m trying to get something together.”
M: “It’s good to have somebody and not be by yourself on the street, it must get so lonely.”
J: “Right, yeah, yeah. I remember when I was lonely. You know, it’s gotten better. I’ve stopped hanging around the people I shouldn’t be hanging around.” M: “Do you have a tent?”
J: “Well, me and my girlfriend stay inside at parking garages. ‘Cause we go to this certain one down on the Sunset Strip. One level is like I guess dealership cars that are just parked there. So, they let us sleep there.”
M: “They don’t kick you out?”
J: “Mhm. ‘Cause they know it’s crazy and it’s dangerous out here, ya know? I tell ‘em I’m trying to look for a job.”
M: “Your parents back home in Texas, they can’t help you out a little bit?”
J: “Well, my parents are not doing so well. My dad is like.. I guess he’s a convict. And then my mom is not doing so well back there. I love ‘em for who they are. You know? But..Yeah, yeah. They can’t really help me because they gotta help themselves before they can help anybody else sorta stuff. Yeah. I can’t help them out unless I help myself.”
Please support the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition to help people like Jonathan get back on their feet. Donate or volunteer today @gwhfc. Link and details in bio.
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Martin: “Where are you from, Adrian?”
Adrian: “Virginia.”
M: “How long have you been here in L.A.?”
A: “Four years.”
M: “Why Los Angeles?”
A: “I was gonna be an actor but...”
M: “Do you go to auditions sometimes?”
A: “No, not really. I don’t do it anymore.”
M: “Are you living on the streets these days?”
A: “Yeah, just on the street. I’m trying to get an apartment. “
M: “Why did you leave Virginia?”
A: “ I was in a group home and in foster care before.”
M: “How old are you now?”
A: “Twenty-three.”
M: “Have you been to Step Up to see if they can help you find housing?”
A: “Yeah, I go there. It’s really good.”
M: “Are you looking for any other jobs besides acting?”
A: “Nah, not really. I got SSI.”
M: “Why do you get SSI?”
A: “I don’t know. I got it like.. I been in group homes since I was twelve to nineteen, so that whole time I was locked up in facilities and so I’m socially awkward. A little bit.”
M: “You seem a little shy but not awkward.”
A: “Yeah.....Thank you.”
Please support the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition to help people like Adrian get back on their feet. Donate or volunteer today @gwhfc. Link and details in bio.
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Martin: "Where are you from?"
Jeremy: "Here."
M "LA your whole life?"
J: "And Riverside County also."
M: "What brings you out to the street?"
J: "I don’t have money right now, enough money. I’m trying to work on it. It’s kinda difficult.“
M: “Your parents can’t help you out?"
J: "No, not really. I left home when I was sixteen."
M: "Have you seen your parents since then?"
J: "Yeah. I talk to my mother but not my father. My mother lives in New Mexico."
M: " Do you have friends out here that you hang out with?"
J: “No. Not too may. I used to, but it’s to much trouble. I started getting into trouble, so I stopped hanging out with those friends." M: "Trouble?"
J: "I don’t know. Just drinking and stuff. And being in public. "
M: "You stay all by yourself now?"
J: "Yes. Try and stay out of trouble. "
M: "What are those scars on your arm from?"
J: "This is from donating plasma and these are from lighter burns from when I was younger. " .
Please support the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition to help people like Jeremy get back on their feet. Donate or volunteer today @gwhfc. Link and details in bio.
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Martin: You look like you’re about seventeen years old.
Julian: I’m twenty-one.
M: Where are you from?
J: I’m from Chicago.
M: Where do you live these days?
J: I just float around, just jump from place to place.
M: Couch surfing?
J: No, not really. To be honest, right now I’m homeless, I have a sleeping bag and I just have my bag and I go around and I just pick a spot.
M: One would never know you were homeless with your clean white shirt, freshly washed. How do you keep your stuff so clean?
J: Well there’s a center over there, the LGBT Center, on Highland, and there’s another one called SPY, Safe Place for Youth, and that’s the first one I went to when I came here.
M: Are you looking for a job right now?
J: Yeah. Well I had a job, but it didn’t feel right, so I quit.
M: What kind of job was it?
J: I was a waiter at this Italian restaurant in Beverly.
M: That sounds like you could make good money?
J: Yeah but I just.. ‘Cause I do everything based off like.. how can I put it? Like more gut instinct, more intuition. It didn’t feel right.
M: How much money did you make there?
J: Five dollars. ‘Cause I was just in training. Right now what I’m trying to do is get this other job in West Hollywood and it’s as a waiter too but it just feels more right.
M: And your parents back do they know you’re on the streets these days?
J: My mom is in Utah and she doesn’t and nobody in my family.. Like nobody knows. Only a few people know. Yeah, hopefully this doesn’t…I mean, it’s the truth. I don’t know, it’s my business, it’s my life. If people see me then cool. I’m not trying to hide it, but I’m not trying to say it. I’m just leading my life. So, I’m not ashamed of it. I mean, I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
M: What is your dream job?
J: I’m trying to do a little bit of everything. I’m trying to do acting and modeling and also I write and I sing my own songs. So, I’m just trying to get my foot in the door one-way or the other.


Martin: "Noah, where are you from?
Noah: "I’m from northern California. Bakersfield. But I didn’t grow up there. I kinda grew up in the system though so I lived there, all over the place."
M: "You grew up in foster care?"
N: “I was taken in when I was three."
M: "You stayed with the same family the whole time?"
N: “No, different families and then I got adopted when I was eight."
M: "You stayed with your foster parents from three to eight?"
N: “From three to eight, I was in fourteen different foster homes, trying to find a place. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger."
M: "Wow, why would they switch you that often?"
N: “They’re not good homes, not good places to be. They get paid for doing that so that’s one reason why they most likely did it but they couldn’t handle it."
M: "Why did you end up in foster care at three?"
N: “My parents were drug addicts. So we got taken away. Yeah. that was the past. Yeah. I know who I am today so…"
M: "Have you met your parents since?"
N: “Yeah, met my dad, not my mom."
M: "Are you still in touch with your adoptive parents?"
N: “Yeah, they’re good people. Just I was never really able to keep my anger. I was an angry child because of all the homes and people [messed] with my head and I couldn’t believe that somebody wanted to keep me. And I just fucked it up for myself. And she tried and never gave up, my mom, really was there for me… still is today. Still is today.”
Please support the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition to help people like Joseph get back on their feet. Donate or volunteer today @gwhfc. Link and details in bio.
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Martin: "Where are you from?"
Charles: "Detroit. I was affiliated with YBI, Young Boys Incorporated. Older guys used to give the younger guys heroin to sell for 'em because juveniles got bail so they can bail us right out, put us right back on the blocks. I'm talkin' 'bout from nine-years-old to thirteen and fourteen." M: "Any parents around, foster care or..?"
C: "Well my mom and daddy left me at the grandmama's house. My grandmama, all she tried to do is instill church in me. God. Ya know? My Mom was a dope fiend. So I used to go over her house. Her house was a shootin' gallery. She used to go in their pockets, give me half of the money and tell me go and hide, you the fall guy. You know? That's what my mama used to do." M: "Did anybody ever get really mad?"
C: "Yeah yeah! People got mad, yeah a lot of them people got mad, man. And one time I didn't hide. One time didn't hide, I said fuck that mother. I ain't hidin' man. I ain't hidin'. My mom pulled up on me with the guy. Beat my ass right then and there, ran my pockets and gave it right to the guy. Took some of my money and his. I mean that's the type of lifestyle. But then my grandmama's house it was like you gotta go to church. So either I wanna go to church or I wanna run back to my mama's house where my other brothers and sisters are at, where I can do what I want."
M: "How old were you when you started living on the street?"
C: "I was fifteen. I ran away, ended up in Tampa Bay, Florida with call girl, Sandy Hawk, and she.. We was on the Bus together, I got off with her, and she helped me pay for my ticket 'cause I only had a ticket to Toledo, Ohio. When we got to Tampa Bay I stayed with her a couple days. A guy was puttin' her on the stroll, and she like, no, she didn't feel comfortable jumpin' in an outa cars 'cause she was a call girl. She looked just like Olivia Newton John at the time. She was an international call girl. She showed me her portfolio her photographs, taken all in front of monuments all around the world. She left me. I came to California from there. That was Super Bowl Sunday, '85.


Martin: “Where are you from?"
Alexander: “Orlando.”
M: “How long have you been here?”
A: “Two weeks."
M: “What brings you to LA?"
A: “Need a new life. Bad vibes back in Orlando, bad history."
M: “Family?"
A: “Not necessarily family, just… I don’t know. I didn’t do right back in Orlando so I kind of had to get up, grow up, come down to LA. Ya know, start living’ my life."
M: “How old are you?"
A: “Twenty."
M: “Your parents are still back in Orlando?"
A: “Mhm."
M: “What do they think of you leaving and coming out here?"
A: “I left… The situation I told them I was gonna be in kind of gave them ease. They don’t exactly know the situation I’m in now but it’s better that way."
M: “What did you tell them?" A: “I told them I had a job down here. I was gonna have a place to stay and all that. Obviously I can’t just be like ‘yeah, ya know, I’m just gonna get up, go and just whatever the hell happens, happens.’ You know you don’t want your… to have that in your mind... of your child being in that situation." M: “They’d probably be heartbroken."
A: “Exactly. So I kinda left them at a bit of ease."
M: “Did you give yourself a time window, how long you’re gonna try it out here before you go home?"
A: “I’m not goin’ back. Even though I’m in the situation I’m in now, I’m happy here. I’m gonna have a place to stay, I may… there’s some times I may need to find food, sleep outside, but I’m happy here. So…
M: “Where do you stay right now?"
A: “I was staying down at the Hollywood Dream Suites Hotel down on Melrose and Van Ness but that went up, so…"
M: “How did you pay for it?"
A: “Well I came here with my best friend and we sold his car and we just kind of got here and used that money and now that money is gone. But besides that, there was just a lot of problems between us so I thought it would be best for me to go on my own way."
M: “Now you’re basically sleeping on the streets these days?"
A: “Mhm."


Martin: "It’s a beautiful day."
Kaityanna: "It’s lovely. It’s a lovely day."
M: "What’s your name?"
K: “Kaityanna."
M: "Where are you from?"
K: "I’m from Texas."
M: "What brings you to Hollywood?"
K: "To start my transition as a transgender woman and to further my career in culinary arts."
M: "Do you go to a culinary school?"
K: "Yes, I go to LA Trade Tech."
M: "You want to be a chef?"
K: "Oh yes." M: "How long have you been transitioning?"
K: "It will be a year in less than four months."
M: "Here at the LGBT Center?"
K: “Mhm."
M: "Are you taking hormones now?"
K: "Yes I am. And next month I goin' to set my dates for my surgeries."
M: "Wow, you’re committed."
K: "Oh yes." M: "How old were you when you realized that you didn’t feel comfortable in your sex?"
K: "Probably at the age of four. I was very young. But I didn’t understand it until I was in middle school and I was like lookin’ at things to see how, ya know, I could possibly be who I am. And I wound up looking up transgender and I read about it and I’m like 'huh, that sounds just like me'. I was like 'wow, huh'. So ever since then, I made it my mission to just come out here and just be me."
M: "Is it easier here than in Texas?"
K: "It is easier than in Texas because most Texas people do not accept transgender women or transgender people at all. So it’s easier for me to be here."
M: "Your parents?"
K: "My folks fully support my decision even though they told me it’s gonna be hard for me, being out here with no support. Well support but without them here and all. They did support my life choices. I am thankful for them. I visit them often. Last year I went home for Thanksgiving and my family saw the biggest transition that I went through because I went from weighting three hundred pounds to weighing one-nintey-five." M: "You used to be three hundred pounds?"
K: "Mhm. Oh yes."
M: "What did you do to loose the weight?"
K: "Basically, I just changed the way I ate and I just walked a lot."


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